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Things to Watch Out For When Buying an Older Home



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By : Dylan Taft    99 or more times read
Historic homes are beautiful and, when they are fully restored, valuable as well. However, there can be quite a few issues with a historic home that many home buyers don’t initially take into consideration before putting in an offer. If you have the money and experience, renovating an older home can be fun and rewarding. However, if you are inexperienced with older home renovation, the constant surprises can be daunting.

The thing working against older homes from the start is that they’re, well, old. An 1872 farmhouse sounds delightfully rustic, but while the timbers may still be in good shape, the rest of the house may well not be. Over a century of pests, oxidization, weather and use are going to take their toll on any home. Without regular maintenance and updates, a historic home could be hiding serious flaws that not only compromise your comfort and the home’s resale value, but also your safety.

When many older homes were built, safety standards were very different or even non-existent. Electricity might not be grounded and wiring may not be safely installed. Older homes that have never been renovated in a fire-conscious culture will not have any fire-retardant material that can inhibit or prevent the spread of a house fire. Some older homes are still insulated with asbestos. It is well worth your money to hire an inspector who can ascertain if your home is safe.

While your electricity may be grounded, it may not be available in the quantity needed for today’s home and the explosion of gadgets that depend on electricity. Upgrading the electricity in an older home can be a challenge. Also, the plumbing could be inefficient or downright unreliable. The kitchen may sport appliances that are aging as well, meaning that you may have to replace them relatively quickly or that they will be inefficient in their use of energy.

Another common problem in older homes is insulation. The windows are likely single-pane and the walls and floors could be insulated with anything from newspaper to asbestos. It bears repeating that it is in your best interests to get a thorough home inspection done to find out if there is anything you need be concerned about. The level and quality of insulation determines how efficient the home will be at heating and cooling and how much money you will spend on that.

When you first start home hunting, visions of exquisitely restored heritage homes may be dancing in your head, but make sure that these dreams don’t make more money than you bargained for dance out of your wallet. While renovating a historic home can be a great project, ensure that you know what you’re likely to spend and how much work you will need to put in to fully restore the building to its former glory.


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